Lawsuit accuses CDMO of ‘blocking’ COVID-19 vaccine

By Ben Hargreaves

- Last updated on GMT

(Image: Getty/Noipornpan)
(Image: Getty/Noipornpan)

Related tags Inovio Pharmaceuticals VGXI COVID-19 Coronavirus

Inovio launches a lawsuit against VGXI, claiming that the CDMO has breached its manufacturing contract for vaccine candidate.

The claim at the center of lawsuit is that VGXI, a contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO), does not have the manufacturing capacity to progress Inovio Pharmaceuticals’ vaccine candidate for COVID-19.

Inovio stated within the lawsuit that the contract signed between the two companies included a clause whereby should VGXI turn down the opportunity to manufacture the vaccine then the CDMO must transfer the technology required for vaccine production. A request that VGXI declined, Inovio claims.

As a result, Inovio suggests that “VGXI [is] wrongfully blocking the path to the development of a COVID-19 vaccine.”

In a public statement, VGXI countered that the allegations are ‘inaccurate’ and that it had manufactured enough doses of the vaccine candidate for Inovio to enter large-scale clinical trials.

The CDMO continued, “For reasons unknown to VGXI, rather than continue working with VGXI to achieve accelerated manufacturing levels, Inovio has instead filed this court action to try to take VGXI’s intellectual property.”

VGXI concluded that it is ‘eager’ to resolve the matter in court.

Eventful period for Inovio

With the pandemic causing a rush of developments across the industry, Inovio has found itself at the center of discussions on the leading COVID-19 therapies​ and on their prospects for success​.

In both cases, Inovio has encountered hurdles to the development of INO-4800. The US government is set to decide which vaccine candidates will be included on ‘Operation Warp Speed’, with initial reports suggesting that Inovio’s candidate will not be included as part of the program.

According to statistics​, the company’s vaccine is one of 135 in the pipeline against the novel coronavirus.

The numerous potential COVID-19 vaccine candidates that have emerged as potentially viable in countering the pandemic have been evaluated closely by the market, leading to Citron Research picking out Inovio’s program as questionable.

Citron Research raised doubts over Inovio’s claim to have developed a vaccine in just three hours, which saw its stock price drop and the company clarify it had developed a vaccine construct, not the vaccine itself, in this time period.

As a result, Inovio itself is facing a pending class action lawsuit from Robbins LLP on behalf of shareholders.

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